Friday, September 30, 2005

Nussbaum On Design

Via metacool, a new blog on design from Bruce Nussbaum. Some tidbits:

Nussbaum on Operationalizing Innovation:

"So many CEOs and top execs appear to be only talking the talk but not walking the talk. They do the blah blah about innovation but don't provide the juice--or leadership--to make it happen. This is fascinating, important and revealing. It explains a lot. Check out this interesting piece on innovation process that involves IDEO in CMO magazine on innovation. It starts with "Innovation may look casual. But behind every creative leap, there's a real process at work." Build it and new products will come."

Nussbaum on The Fuseproject Deal:

"This is a really big deal with important consequences for companies. Both firms are considered break-out creative shops in their respective fields. We are seeing the convergence of product design, branding, advertising and communication. Will there be more to come?"

Cool, I'm adding this to my must-read list....
past posts on design:
flux in the design biz
Talking About Design
Simplicity, Design, and Corn
Totally Chaotic!
Premium vs Luxury
Is Innovation Finished Or Isn't It?
Design Lust at Target's Pharmacy
Millenium Challenge 2002 and Design Thinking
Losing The Conversation, Taking It back

The Feelgood Hit of the Year

Via defective yeti:

One of my favorite classic family films is being re-released.

Which one? The Shining, of course.

Can't wait to take the kids :)

Thursday, September 29, 2005

flux in the design biz

It seems the design world is in a state of constant flux.

Flextronics bought frogdesign a while back, to strengthen its position as an uber Original Design Manufacturer (ODM).

Now (via core 77),
Miami based ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky has purchased a minority stake in SF-based fuseproject. CP+B has been responsible for the latest ad campaigns of such heavy hitters as Burger King, method, and Virgin Air. One client shared in common is MINI.

With fuseproject's slant towards brand and strategy, its easy to imagine the two firms combining to do some pretty dynamic work.
A partnership to watch, as there's obviously a lot of overlap between this new partnership and where IDEO has been growing recently.

past posts on design:
Talking About Design
Simplicity, Design, and Corn
Totally Chaotic!
Premium vs Luxury
Is Innovation Finished Or Isn't It?
Design Lust at Target's Pharmacy
Millenium Challenge 2002 and Design Thinking
Losing The Conversation, Taking It back

Eichler Map Site

Fellow Eichler enthusiast Mike Ahern sent me this via email today:

I made a site showing the eichler neighborhoods of the south bay from satellite photos showing all neighborhoods and they are all easy to see from the photos.

I am working on Palo Alto next.

Cool! The eichler otaku is strong indeed.

Previously on Eichlers:
My Brahmasthan is more Vedic than yours
DMD's Eichler Remodeling Blog
The Hole In My Roof
Eichler Atrum Otaku
I Heart My House

Previously on Maps:
Google Maps, Complexity, Simplicity, etc etc

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Talking about Design

As a design worker, I'm figuring out its kind of hard to talk about the work you do, without talking about the work you're doing.

The work you're doing must be kept proprietary until your client (or your company, if you're not a consultant) chooses the right time and place to announce it. If you blow that, you've just undercut a large part of your work's value. Some companies are known to be quite serious about this.

So while I really would like to jabber on about projects I'm doing, I can really only talk about projects I've done, mostly a long while ago. The problem is, in between then and now, the world changes. We get better at what we do. We learn things. Conversations about projects done years ago suffer from being immediately obsolete. So, it's tempting to sneak up on that timeline, to talk obliquely about things that interest you NOW, because like good pop music, that's kind of what blogging is about, the NOW of it.

I've had some short conversations about this with W in marcom. It's hard enough for W juggling real media, without having to worry about wannabe anarchists like me popping the wrong seams loose. To her immense credit, our conversations have been about learning what the right path should be, not about closing all paths until one is proven correct. We're prototyping the experience, which is what our corporate culture is all about.

Not that I'm the only case study. W's reminded me that people like Diego at metacool are dealing with this dilemma quite well. But even IDEO itself deals with the effects of time-lag: how to explain to potential clients and recruits we're no longer the same company that you've seen on video, because we've evolved in critical ways since then.

Speaking of evolution, I ran into AP, one of the forces behind Freddy&Ma among other contemporary entreprenurial adventures, talking about the joys and perils of striking out on one's own, such as creating trade show booths based on the requirement that all parts must fit into his Honda Element. Ah, youth.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

some photos I like

Canghuixu, an old friend from college, has become quite a photographer, in a Rothko- meets- Hopper- and- finds- a- camera vein.

He's got some recent pictures from an extended trip to China.

There are some stark and beautiful images from Factory 798. He describes it as "an artist's colony, for lack of a better term, that is developing in the ruins of a bankrupt state run company in northeast Beijing. It seems to be very much a work in progress."

The image above is from a beautiful series shot at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. Check out the stately doorways.

This photo of a subway train in motion, from an earlier series in Japan, is another one of my favorites. I have vowed to print out and hang up on my wall.

Friday, September 09, 2005

tumbleweeds, bugaboos, etc.

Finally, got some headspace to think about cool things, and here's what's been bubbling up::

Got a link at work to the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, a series of home designs from Jay Shafer. These are perfect distallations of houses down to 50 square feet or so. And, by bay area standards quite affordable. My favorite is of course the eichler-esque shed roof XT House.

I've been reading alot at DaddyTypes lately, the musings of a design conscious urban dad out there somewhere (and I should remember where, I ordered a tee shirt from him). I feel very jealous that this kind of high-design kid gear was harder to find when I was a new dad. but then, I would have been much poorer.

One particularly interesting trend is the phenomenal success of the Bugaboo stroller over the last half decade, in the high-end market. back when I was working on strollers, the Bugaboo was this quaint example of over-the-top European engineering. Then it became THE celebrity stroller, elevating the mundane like Dyson did for vacuum cleaners.

I've gotten my wife thinkning about thinking about Eames lounge chairs. Sneakily, I purchased a knock-off fixer-upper on craigs list. It looks close enough, but you can really feel its knockoffness when you sit in it. Comfy but not Eames Lounge comfy. In other chair news, my $15 yard-sale Wassily chair split a seam on a armest panel, so it ended up sideways-up between two couches one day during vaccuming, promptly turning into an indoor jungle gym. Kids.

Also been thinking about thinking about kitchen remodels. Not that we have the money.

Freddy&Ma's got samples of their handbag designs. How exciting!

Another ex-IDEOer's product, the picopad, was recently written up in the hip local weekly The Wave.


Tuesday, September 06, 2005

paper, electronics, planes, karma

Last thursday I was on a quick business trip to San Diego -fly down in the AM, meet with my client, fly back in the PM. This trip was fraught with bad electronics karma: the loaner laptop kept losing battery charge (even near the end of our presentation!), and my iPod mysteriously managed to lose all its music.

In the middle of all this, I realized that I left my notebook (the pen and ink kind) in the magazine pouch on the plane ride down. Not a huge deal, as it was mostly full of scribbles and notes intelligible only to me, but definitely a downer. I called the corporate travel agent to see if anyone had dropped it off at the gate or anything, but no luck. I even checked with the gate crew as we checked in to our return flight that afternoon.

So, halfway thru the flight back I thought, what are the chances that this is the same plane that took us down, and what are the chances that if I check the magazine pouch of the seat I had, the notebook will be there?

Of course, it was there.